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Thursday, July 31, 2014         

Hawaii's Backyard Premium

When something piques Laryssa Kwoczak's interest, she makes a beeline for it. So it was in the fall of 2010 when she attended a festival for an urban farm in Philadelphia that had hives on the roof of a garage.

"How do you like my office?" Edwin Otsuji asks as visitors admire a panorama that stretches from Diamond Head to Maunalua Bay. "Beautiful, yeah? That's why vegetables grow so well here; they love the view."

In 1990, when his four children were on their own and he retired from a 35-year career as a submarine safety coordinator at Pearl Harbor, Jimmy Wong began checking things off his bucket list.

Psssst … wanna know a secret? The Mauian is one of the best options for a laid-back, low-key Hawaii getaway. Although the 44-room hotel was one of the first to be built on the shores of Napili Bay, it has remained pretty much under the radar.

Six days a week Guy Tama­shiro, vice president of Tama­shiro Market, rises at 4:30 a.m. to make it to Pier 38 in time for the start of the Hono­lulu Fish Auction. Tama­shiro has been the head fish buyer for his family's business for 40 years, and he knows the routine well.

There was a time when people went to gas stations to, well, buy gas. These days, their car's tank might be full, but they're pulling up near the pumps anyway to pick up everything from glue to games to great local food at on-site convenience stores.

On a visit to Hawaii island in early 2002, Greg Colden and his partner, Marty Corrigan, went on a six-hour snorkeling excursion. It was a cloudy day, and, not knowing he would be exposed to ultraviolet rays even though he wasn't in direct sunlight, Colden didn't apply sunscreen or wear a rash guard or T-shirt.

Dave Black helps visitors walk down waterfalls — backward, no less! The avid outdoorsman has nearly 50 years of climbing and rappelling experience and has literally written the book on them.

Few people talk about their workplace with as much pride and passion as Kauai County Council Chairman Jay Furfaro. The Historic County Building houses the offices of the seven-member Kauai County Council, the county clerk and the Kauai Historical Society.

Anyone who was born and raised in Hawaii might find it hard to imagine that Dotty Kelly-Paddock didn't see an ocean until she was 19 years old. "I grew up in Indiana, where there was lots of corn but no ocean," said the longtime Hau­ula resident.

So seriously does Gigi Gaea take her career as a "GastroPreneur," she printed that title on her business card. "I coined the word when I started Hawaii Tasting Tours," Gaea said.

Horticulturist Norman Bezona might have written those words, so grateful is he for the joy and serenity that fills his soul whenever he spends time among plants, flowers and trees.

Loretta Yajima remembers a time two decades ago when people thought she was crazy. Turn the old Hono­lulu incinerator into a children's museum? Ridiculous! It couldn't be done.

EVERY so often, in the midst of his busy workday, Clifford Nae­ole receives a "call from my gut" that directs him to a place of peace and tranquility: the Hono­ka­hua Preservation Site on the grounds of The Ritz-Carlton, Kapa­lua.

With that brief introduction, Michael Gilbert sums up his Outdoor Photography: Light, Composition & Gesture class: The key to photography is not mastering sophisticated equipment; it's being aware of your surroundings and responding to them.

Karen Lockwood met her husband, Andrew, in 1995, when they were students at Amherst College in Massachusetts. He was from Hawaii; she was from California. Both were new to New England and wanted to explore it together.

Maile Meyer grew up during the 1960s and 1970s — a time, as she puts it, when "a good Hawaiian was someone who wanted to be American. It was very difficult to find opportunities to study Hawaiian culture and history in school. Kupuna (elders) had the knowledge [...]"

Green is not only Holly Algood's favorite color, it's her way of life. She and her business and life partner, Eila Algood, live off the grid in rural Hawi on Hawaii island, creating their own energy with wind and solar.

It doesn't have an ocean view, there's not a palm tree in sight and instead of swimsuits, guests are likely to be dressed in sweaters. Still, Volcano House, just a quarter-mile past the entrance to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, is one of the most talked-about hotels in Hawaii.

When staffers at the restored 19th-century sugar plantation were brainstorming ideas for a benefit, they recalled the good times they always had at carnivals. They thought the museum's expansive front lawn would be the perfect setting for an old-fashioned fair.

Ted Clement's first job after graduating from college in 1991 was working as an environmental educator for the Outward Bound School in Maine. A longtime outdoor enthusiast with a Bachelor of Science degree, he led high school and college students on expeditions ranging from about three weeks to three months.

The note Roy Sakuma received in December was the most touching he had received in his 40-plus years as a champion of the ukulele: "Aloha, my name is Kailani," the emailed message began.

At Travaasa Hana guests can have their cake and eat it, too. On one hand, the rural hamlet of Hana provides the perfect setting for a low-key, laid-back escape. On the other, they can enjoy all the amenities of a luxury resort, from fine dining to a full-service spa.

Even with a magnifying glass, the visitors could barely spot the unusual spider — just a quarter of an inch long — that was resting on a kawau (native holly) leaf in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

Memorable stories are shared every year at Whale Tales. The eighth annual event will feature presentations by world-renowned whale experts who will provide commentary and mingle with guests on two-hour cruises along the coast of West Maui.

Growing up in then-sleepy Kona in the '60 and early '70s, Marcia Timboy was immersed in the best of Hawaiian music. Timboy is the coordinator for HMH's second annual Ke Ala o ka Hua Mele, which explores the evolution of Hawaiian music, from pre-contact Hawaii to today.

Nat Bletter and Dave Elliott are savoring the sweet success of Madre Chocolate. In just three years they've made their company one of Hawaii's go-to sources for all things chocolate.

As a student of kumu hula Keala Ching, Julie Lyle has learned Hawaiian history, values and practical skills such as making implements, costumes and adornments from bamboo, ti leaves, bottle gourds and other natural materials.

Lincoln Jacobe believes discovering new things is the spice of life. "It makes life fun, interesting and exciting," said the chief executive officer of Hawaii Pacific Entertainment, a Hono­lulu-based media, communications and entertainment company.

When visitors enter the Hawaii Plantation Museum, they see a wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling hodgepodge of things, which, at first glance, looks like the staging area for a giant garage sale. Wayne Subica sees treasures.

"THE QUEEN inspires me daily. To me, she is a model of grace, forgiveness, compassion and loyalty to her people — not just Hawaiians but everyone in her kingdom who respected the values and traditions of the Hawaiians. I am a royalist; I hold dual citizenship in my heart."

As legend goes, a submerged cave along Molokai's northwest coast was the source of a stony sponge valued for its medicinal properties.

Over the past 35 years, Colleen Edwards has taken numerous classes in her quest to bring out what she calls her "inner artist.

In the Hawaiian forest, birds converse in soft, sweet sonnets. Fronds bend and sway in response to the whispers of the wind. The sound of gently falling rain soothes the soul like a lullaby. Here, amid the peace and verdant finery of nature, Volcano Village Lodge lures guests away from the hubbub of everyday life.

When Abby Stankiewicz turned 10, she received riding lessons at a small equestrian center in her hometown of Cincinnati. "The first time I got on a horse, I was hooked," said the 24-year-old Wahiawa resident, who has trained with Olympic equestrians.

That morning off Maalaea Harbor in January 2007 was definitely not the best time to be on the ocean.

Chisels on linoleum, hands on potter's wheels, paintbrushes on canvases — stop by the Donkey Mill Art Center on any given day and you'll see creativity percolating along with an ever-present pot of Kona coffee.

While he was on abusiness trip to Newport Beach in late 2008, Bill Countryman, general manager of the Wailea Beach Marriott Resort & Spa, heard about a promotion that the city's restaurant association was sponsoring to showcase its wide range of dining options.

Sandi Alstrand's introduction to lilikoi was love at first bite. Before she and her husband moved to Hawaii island from the San Francisco Bay Area in 2002, they vacationed there for two weeks to confirm they wanted to make that big of a lifestyle change.

Before he took the helm as executive director of Hawaii's Plantation Village eight years ago, Jeff Higa had not had any supernatural experiences, nor did he believe in them.

Although Haunani Hopkins was trained as a database analyst, she was meant to touch lives in her life's work rather than a computer keyboard.

Sun, soil, rain and beneficial insects — nature is Taka Ino's primary partner in what he calls "the joy of growing tea.

In 1990, when Lynn Muramoto and her husband first came to the 32-acre site in Lawai Valley that is now the Lawai International Center, it was so overgrown, they had to use chain saws to cut a path so they could drive in. It took more clearing of thick jungle for them to catch a glimpse of the 88 shrines lining a winding path on the hill above them.

Last year, as Kani Blackwell was thanking students and teachers for attending the School Outreach Program that the Kauai Powwow Council pre­sents annually at Lydgate Beach Park, she felt a tug at her sleeve.

In ancient times, dryland forests blanketed the leeward sides of all the Hawaiian Islands, from mountain slopes to the coasts. The forests were home to hundreds of species of native birds, insects, trees, shrubs, ferns and herbaceous plants — many of which couldn't be found anywhere else in the world.

For me, hula has always been … " There's no need for Hokulani Holt to say anything else. Those few simple but powerful words clearly communicate the important role the Hawaiian dance has played in her life.

Jeff Bagshaw's first visit to Haleakala National Park was a "light bulb experience." On that 1988 hiking and camping trip with his college group from Washington state, he saw more endangered wildlife in three days than he had in months on the mainland.

As a child, Troy Keolanui spent many summers with his maternal grandparents in rural Boring, Ore., 20 miles from Portland. One of his favorite pastimes was picking blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and raspberries at neighboring farms.

Home of Maui's alii, capital of the Hawaiian kingdom, rest stop for whaling ships, missionary headquarters, plantation town, popular visitor destination — "there are so many layers to Lahaina's story, from ancient times to the present," said Theo Morrison, executive director of the nonprofit Lahaina Restoration Foundation.

Jerry Konanui delights in telling the story of Lihi­lihi­mo­lina, a variety of Hawaiian kalo, or taro, that was once considered lost. Its name refers to the curve of eyelashes and a crescent moon.

Next weekend, 88-year-old Leilani Alama and her sister Pua­nani, 83, will be among the dancers at the Na Hula Festival just as they have been every year since the event's inception in 1941.

IT WAS like flying on the ocean! You felt the sun, wind and salt spray on your face. Everyone was in sync — like we were moving as one body." Eleven years have passed since Isaac Lau raced with his Hawaii Dragon Boat Festival team, but he can describe it as clearly as if it were yesterday.

When Bob Stanga explains how he went from being the owner and pilot of a helicopter company to growing mushrooms, he jokes that he wanted to become a more "grounded" person.

On their first trip to Lanai in November 2008, Lisa Grove and her husband, Stephen, knew they had found home. Avid outdoorsmen, they spent five days hiking, biking, snorkeling and swimming in quiet, beautiful spots they often had all to themselves. It was the perfect playground.

Tim Lara's love affair with the ocean began 30 years ago, when he was in elementary school in Key West, Fla. "The ocean was my family's playground," recalled the owner and operations manager of Maui-based Hawaiian Paddle Sports.

Comfort. Convenience. Quiet. Quality. When longtime hospitality executive Paul Horner travels, those are the features he looks for in accommodations.

Alesia Cloutier heads a company that offers two Oahu walking tours revolving around food. Launched in September, the three-hour Kailua Food Tour is set in the scenic suburb where she was born and raised.

When Shay Smith's family gets together, no matter whose house the party is at, the busiest spot is the bar. "Everyone bring ingredients and plays mixologist," Smith said. "We all try and outdo each other. In fact, that's how most of the recipes for Ocean Vodka's specialty cocktails came to be."

As a college student in Reno, Nev., 20 years ago, Amanda Kaaha­nui knew she loved nature and wanted to help protect it. Through a part-time volunteer job, she realized she didn't have to earn a Ph.D. in environmental science or go on expeditions in remote regions to do that.

A decade ago Brian Ross read a magazine article that described Allerton and McBryde gardens as a "living encyclopedia" of tropical plants and trees from around the world, many of them rare and endangered.

When Marilyn Jansen Lopes and her husband, Ricky, bought a used eight-passenger van at an auction in 2009, they intended to use it as an RV for camping and cruising. Little did they know it would inspire a business that draws people from all over the world.

Lea Uehara doesn't sing, dance or play an instrument. But she does love music, and she knows Hawaii's dynamic music industry inside out.

Through her writing assignments, Marta Lane befriended many movers and shakers in Kauai's food industry. A Taste of Old Kauai is the result of one of the valuable relationships Lane has fostered.

Hawaii residents love Spam. In fact, we eat nearly 7 million cans of the versatile luncheon meat every year — more than any other state in America.

When Xorin Balbes first saw the century-old Fred C. Baldwin Memorial Home in 2010, it exuded the sadness and despair of a neglected elder. Termites and dry rot had badly damaged its five wooden buildings. Its plumbing and septic tanks were corroding, and there were only a few trees on its 6-acre Upcountry Maui site.

Tonia Moy loves buildings — not just because she's an architect and architects should love buildings in much the same way veterinarians should love animals and couturiers should love clothes.

Mike Dailey has broken his collarbone and a foot playing polo. He's also cracked and bruised a few ribs, has had wounds that required stitches and has suffered four concussions, one of which left him in a coma for five days.

One of the leaders in Hawaii's coffee industry didn't drink his first cup of java until he was 40 years old. In 1993, Waiele Drilling, a for-profit subsidiary of Bishop Estate (now Kame­ha­meha Schools), lured Bateman, a mechanical engineer, from Newport Beach, Calif., to Hawaii island.

Suspension bridges. Aerial walkways. Rivers and rain forests bordered by a 2,500-foot-high mountain range. The setting for Outfitters Kauai's Zipline Trek Nui Nui Loa seems like it was pulled from "Swiss Family Robinson"; it's a spectacular playground for adventurers.

On the last day of the 2012 Celebration of the Arts, Clifford Nae­ole stood quietly watching the activity at the Ritz-Carlton, Kapa­lua's front desk. Checking in were new arrivals who had no idea they had just missed one of Hawaii's premier cultural events.

When Farsheed Bonakdar was a young boy growing up in Iran, he spent whatever pin money he had on his favorite treat: "dark kiss," a dome-shaped confection with a filling akin to whipped cream.

Pete Fisher, owner and founder of Kayak Wai­lua, is serious when he says his hiking and kayaking tour along the Wai­lua River is suitable for just about everyone.

No boardroom, no PowerPoint presentations, no catered lunch. Executives of a Waikiki hotel found their professional development meeting at Heeia Fishpond to be a big change from the norm.

Partially obscured by shrubs along Keauhou Bay, the treasures of Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa had been overlooked for decades. Long forgotten, too, were their stories.

Tomas Havranek's introduction to the Segway PT (Personal Transporter) seven years ago was love at first glide. "When my wife, Andrea, and I first tried riding it at a park, we thought it was one of the coolest things we had ever done," he said.

In the waning hours of daylight, mist gently wraps around the forested hills of Ahualoa on Hawaii island like an ethereal shawl. Thus came the inspiration for the name of Carol Salisbury Culbertson's inn in that rural district above Honokaa town: Waianuhea, meaning "cool soft fragrance."

When Eve Hogan and her husband, Steve, purchased their 3.8-acre Upcountry Maui property in 2005, they had no idea it would one day be a mecca for visitors seeking peace, rejuvenation and inspiration.

The elderly couple wasn't going to let age keep them from the most exciting adventure of their lives. They put on sturdy walking shoes, donned helmets and harnesses, and zipped for the first time with Skyline Eco-Adventures Akaka Falls on Hawaii island.

From October through February in olden Hawaii, war was kapu (forbidden), all work halted and the people's attention turned instead to games, sports, feasting, dancing and religious ceremonies honoring Lono, the god of agriculture.

On a sunny day, high atop a hill in North Kohala on Hawaii island, Christie Cash and her husband, Jay Nelson, surveyed a lot they were thinking of buying. They wound up being more taken with the 33-acre parcel next to it, which was once part of a large spread known as Pua­kea Ranch.

On New Year's Day 2010, while sailing off Kawaihae on Hawaii Island, Tania Howard and several friends spotted a humpback and her calf a quarter-mile away. Shutting off the Maile's engine, they decided to wait and see what the whales would do.

In the devastating aftermath of 9-11, Blake Kolona found himself struggling to keep his painting and contracting business afloat, eventually facing bankruptcy. Concerned about the future, he hiked deep into Makaha and discovered a new passion.

As a high school teen in Northern California, Ted Henry remembers walking down the aisles in the liquor section of neighborhood grocery stores, admiring the labels on wine bottles and reading all the information that was on them.

When Glynnis Nakai says Maui's Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge is for the birds, she means it in a good way.

Felicita Garrido and her husband, Steven Bolosan, moved to Na Mea Kupono, their 6-acre Wai­alua farm, in 2008, and started offering educational visits two years later. In addition to taro, numerous other native and introduced plants thrive at Na Mea Kupono.

In 1720, renowned Italian luthier Antonio Stradivari built the “perfect violin,” so called because of its superb craftsmanship and sound quality. Shortly thereafter the instrument — dubbed the “Red Violin” because of its rich color — went missing, its whereabouts unknown for more than 200 years.

Longtime wine enthusiasts Bud Pikrone and his wife, Diane, remember throwing wine-tasting parties in the 1970s when most of their friends were drinking Mad Dog.

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park sprawls over more than 330,000 acres in southeastern Hawaii island. The park was established as a national park on Aug. 1, 1916 and is best known for its two active volcanoes: Mauna Loa and Kilauea.

For centuries, rum has been associated with tales of adventure, romance and intrigue. The rum-loving pirate Blackbeard terrorized ships around the West Indies and eastern coast of the American colonies between 1716 and 1718.

Ghosts, ghouls, goblins, graveyards -- it's Halloween season, when we have fun screaming, shuddering and getting scared out of our wits. Here are four spine-tingling options.

Jean-Claude Van Damme is in love with Sandra Bullock, but she isn't interested in romance. She's completely focused on work. Shania Twain hates to sweat. Whenever her face gets hot and sticky, she'll bend down and wipe it on the feet of the closest bystander.

WISPS of smoke rise from the cigar in the ashtray on Bruce Mayes' desk, the pungent odor blending with the aroma of strong coffee. On a wooden Philco radio, Frank Sinatra croons "As Time Goes By" — his soothing voice muting the persistent staccato of a teletype machine in the adjoining room.

IN 2005, Raiatea Helm took the stage with "Auntie" Genoa Keawe for a duet that many regard as one of the Windward Hoolaulea's all-time highlights.

Every Saturday morning, Marc Ino­uye rises before the sun does, so he can get to Oahu’s eastern coast — anywhere between Maka­puu and Kua­loa — by dawn, when fish are more apt to bite. Within the hour he and a friend are setting up their lines on shore.

Katie Molzer has ridden elephants in Thailand, hiked the Franz Josef Glacier in New Zealand, held sloths and caimans in Brazil and gone scuba diving among giant clams and white-tip reef sharks along the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.

Laurelee Blanchard established the nonprofit sanctuary on Maui in March 2008 to provide care and shelter for rescued farm animals and educational opportunities for the community. It's named after its first donkey, which died that year.

Early Saturday morning, a line of about 140 outrigger canoes stretching a half-mile will form in Kailua Bay for the first competition of the annual Queen Lili‘u­oka­lani Outrigger Canoe Races.

When Anthony Luat's creative juices start flowing, he doesn't reach for a paintbrush or clay. He brews espresso and steams milk. Luat, the 21-year-old head barista trainer for Hono­lulu Coffee, placed first in the Latte Art Competition at last year's inaugural Art of Hawaiian Coffee event, sponsored by DFS Galleria Waikiki.

Waipoli Hydroponic Greens grows watercress and eight varieties of lettuce on six scenic acres at the 3,500-foot-elevation of Hale­akala. Thirteen employees harvest greens three days a week and clean and plant three days a week year-round.

Many people go the beach with sand chairs and bodyboards. Whenever he heads makai, Jeff Peterson is loaded down with shovels, buckets and a bag full of tools.


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